Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Into the breach: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is among the agencies looking into the massive data breach at Equifax, “a probe that could become one of the largest such investigations to date,” the Wall Street Journal comments. Why is the FBI interested? “The sheer amount of information stolen led analysts to question whether it was the work of hackers seeking to use the personal data for financial purposes, or if it was motivated by a foreign government seeking broader data on Americans.”

Attorneys general from Illinois and New York have begun investigations into the hack, and a House committee said it plans to hold a hearing into the “troubling” incident.

Consumers aren’t happy about Equifax’s response to the breach, citing problems with the website the company set up to help them. Some regulators are urging consumers to freeze their credit reports, which “some lenders fear could ding credit growth.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times here and here, American Banker here, here and here

Wall Street Journal
Tech to the rescue: Hurricane Harvey forced the closure of many banks in the Houston area, but customers have been able “to carry on almost as normal” thanks to mobile devices and banking apps. “Past hurricanes crippled customers,” but mobile technology made the early stages of recovery “significantly different from in the past,” said Kelly Sebesta, electronic division manager at Allegiance Bancshares.

Hostile environment: “Nearly a dozen current and former employees” at Social Finance told The Wall Street Journal “that some executives, including the company’s former finance chief, engaged in or tolerated what they described as improper behavior toward women in recent years.”

“The allegations levied against SoFi occur against a backdrop of debate within Silicon Valley about the culture of startups,” the paper says. “Numerous companies in recent years have been the subject of accusations of improper conduct or hostile work environments.”

China battles bitcoin: A week after banning initial coin offerings, China is planning to shut down exchanges that trade bitcoin, “delivering a final blow to a once-thriving industry of commercial trading for virtual currencies,” the paper reports.

One tough banker: Antonio Nieves, a personal banker at PNC Financial who moonlights as a boxer, is profiled by the paper. He fought in HBO’s Boxing After Dark on Saturday night and plans to be back at his desk in Cleveland Wednesday morning.

Financial Times
See you in court: Two of the biggest blockchain companies, R3 and Ripple Labs, are suing each other over $1 billion in cryptocurrency options. “The dispute underlines how growing interest in the potential of blockchain technology has raised the stakes in the race to become the leading player in the nascent industry,” the paper reports.

Can’t wait: No financial industry would be happier to see Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray leave to run for governor of Ohio than the residential mortgage business, which has “a profound loathing” for the CFPB and its director because of “a widespread belief that he is responsible for a harsh and arbitrary regulatory regime,” the paper says.

Calling London: Goldman Sachs is looking to take its new online consumer banking business to the U.K., hoping to launch Marcus by the middle of 2018. “Much like in the U.S., we’re aiming to offer consumers easy-to-use and higher-returning savings options than [they] might have elsewhere,” said Stephen Scherr, Goldman’s head of strategy.

The bank may need that business to offset a slump in its long-dominant trading business. “Goldman Sachs has run out of steam,” said Richard Bove, banking analyst at Vertical Research, according to an AFP story . “It needs inspiration. It needs new management, new businesses, new activities.”

What’s he up to?: Jamie Dimon’s frequent trips to Washington — more than a dozen so far this year — are creating speculation that he may want to run an enterprise even bigger than JPMorgan Chase. “The frequency of his trips, and the wide range of policies he has been discussing, have started chatter among power brokers in Washington and on Wall Street about how much energy Dimon is devoting to issues beyond JPMorgan,” Reuters reports. “At times, they said, Dimon carries himself more like someone running the country than someone running a bank.”

JPM CEO Jamie Dimon
JPM CEO Jamie Dimon Bloomberg News

“It’s certainly the worst single breach of personal information that I know of. This data is the key to everyone’s files and interactions with financial services, government and health care.” — Avivah Litan, a Gartner vice president, commenting on the Equifax data breach.

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